The Atlantic

Trump Is Preparing for a New Cold War

By undermining America’s soft power even as it ramps up competition with China, the Trump administration is sabotaging its own strategy.
Source: Thomas Peter / AP

Read its foreign policy statements and this much becomes clear: The Trump administration is preparing for a new Cold War. Its National Security Strategy, unveiled in December, asserts that “The United States will respond to the growing political, economic, and military competitions we face around the world. China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests.” The following month, in announcing the administration’s National Defense Strategy, Defense Secretary James Mattis declared that “Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

There are problems with this. President Trump’s national security documents make “competition” sound like an inevitability rather than a choice. Thus, they skip over a critical question: When can America best achieve its interests

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